My colleague, Roy Mason, often challenges me with obscure names in his commentaries, to see if I remember or ever knew about them. In the issue about the 1964 NCAA meet, the last person named was Christian Ohiri of Harvard who finished fifth in the triple jump. I confess I just overlooked Ohiri whom TF&N referred to as a 'bushy haired African', politically dubious today, but a sign of those times. So I went back to the internet and found these things about Ohiri, a part time track athlete whose main sport at Harvard was soccer. Ohiri came to Harvard when that institution decided it would begin actively recruiting deserving third world students. One of their administrator/recruiters offered Ohiri an academic scholarship after an interview in Nigeria. He still holds records for scoring in consecutive games at Harvard and several other soccer accomplishments and 49 career goals. He must have competed in track as an afterthought, but held the Harvard triple jump record for over 40 years. He competed for Nigeria at the Tokyo Olympics finishing 24th in the triple jump. A brilliant student, graduating magna cum laude, Ohiri went on to Harvard Business School, but while studying there was stricken with leukemia and died in 1966. He is still remembered at Harvard today as the soccer/lacrosse field carries his name. Reference to him can be found at the links below.
The following article by Chris Lala appeared in Boston Magazine November , 2001
On a summer afternoon in the mid 1960s, New York City's Port Authority buzzed with the usual swirl of commuters and tourists, pickpockets, students, and whores. Steve Sewall was zigzagging through the crowds when he heard his name ring out.
“Hey, Stevie!” the voice called. It was a cheery, recognizable voice, the near-laugh in it unmistakable amid the white noise of the city: Chris Ohiri.
Harvard Hall of Fame:
Christian L. Ohiri '64
Ohiri Field is named for Chris Ohiri '64, a native of Owerri, Nigeria, who died of cancer while attending classes at the Harvard Business School following his graduation.
A magna cum laude graduate, Ohiri was a soccer and track standout for the Crimson. A center forward in soccer, he led the Ivy League in scoring in each of his last three years, including setting a record of 11 goals in a season. In track, he was also a standout, winning the triple jump in the Heptagonal and IC4A Championships.
In October, 1983, the soccer and lacrosse field adjacent to the Harvard Business School was named Chris Ohiri Field. The inscription from the plaque at the field reads:
Chris Ohiri Field
in affectionate memory of
Christian Ludger Ohiri, A.B. 1964
this field is named.
Eager scholar--loyal teammate--skilled athlete
in soccer, track and field.
His college generation remembers here a man
generous in friendship who loved God and
and faced the conflicts of life
with honesty, enthusiasm